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Governor receives Lauren Book bill increasing fertility clinic oversight

The bill also aims to prevent unwanted pelvic exams.

A bill aiming to increase fertility clinic regulations and prevent unwanted pelvic exams is headed to the Governor as of Wednesday.

Sen. Lauren Book sponsored the legislation (SB 698) during the 2020 Session.

The bill criminalizes the insemination of a woman with a person’s genetic material without her knowledge.

The push comes after reports of fertility doctors using their own sperm to inseminate women who thought they were receiving sperm from a donor.

If the measure is signed, it would be a third-degree felony to inseminate a women with genetic material she did not consent to. If that material belongs to the doctor himself, the offense becomes a second-degree felony.

Book and her husband utilized the in-vitro fertilization process to help conceive.

“We put our whole lives, a small fortune and complete faith and trust into the hands of a physician,” Book said.

“On my IVF journey, I learned that there are many, many good infertility doctors who do the right thing and work to do the best thing by their patients. But since that time, I’ve come to learn about many others who have fallen prey to careless and even intentional harm inflicted in a largely unregulated industry.”

The bill also explicitly requires consent before a pelvic examination is performed on a female patient at a hospital. Medical students routinely practice different types of exams on hospital patients, with the patient’s consent.

However, those consent forms often don’t elaborate on specifically which types of exams are approved. Book’s legislation requires pelvic exams to be explicitly listed on a consent form.

During House debate on the bill, Rep. Evan Jenne added a provision extending that ban — sans clear consent — to teaching doctors as well.

“We were afraid that even though while it might stop medical students from doing it that you could still have this situation where a teaching doctor was performing a pelvic floor exam on an unconscious, unconsenting women while the medical students just stood there and watched, but it was still happening,” Jenne said.

The bill was one of several sent to the Governor Wednesday.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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